Health News Roundup

Unequal access for CT’s aging population, and more in this week’s roundup

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More people want to age outside nursing homes, but some have few options 
Jenna Carlesso, Katy Golvala, and Dave Altimari, The Connecticut Mirror, March 30
As Connecticut’s population of older adults grows and more people choose care outside of nursing homes, advocates worry that access to services for the aging will become more unequal. The cost of care and housing can be obstacles to those who want to spend their final years at home. And advocates say not enough is being done to track disparities and find solutions.

In the whitewashed world of Alzheimer’s research, one scientist is on a quest to understand the diversity of brains
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, March 30
Some studies suggest that Black Americans are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, yet are far less likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Clinical trials still lack diversity and research on Alzheimer’s in Black populations remains scant. Dr. Lisa Barnes – a Black female cognitive neuropsychologist – is trying to change that.

A CT Medicaid program may see its strict income limits increase
Katy Golvala, The Connecticut Mirror, April 5
The state’s eligibility criteria for HUSKY C, the Medicaid program for people who are over 65, blind or disabled, requires non-working people to remain in poverty and severely limit their savings in order to keep their Medicaid coverage. During this legislative session, the Connecticut General Assembly will consider two different proposals to increase both the income and asset limits for HUSKY C. One proposal would help people like Brenda Moore qualify for HUSKY C, which would allow her remain in her home and receive care from a personal care aide.

Millions on Medicaid may soon lose coverage as pandemic protections expire
Noah Weiland, The New York Times, April 3
As of April 1st, state officials around the country could begin removing people from Medicaid who no longer qualify – something they had stopped doing at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. While annual eligibility checks may save states money, they often create a confusing cycle for people who lose coverage even though they are still eligible. The consequences can be severe for people with chronic health conditions for whom a week or a month without insurance could be especially risky.

States step in as telehealth and clinic patients get blindsided by hospital fees
Markian Hawryluk, Kaiser Health News, April 3
Millions of Americans are surprised with hospital bills for doctor appointments that didn’t require setting foot inside of a hospital. Connecticut has gone the furthest to combat this practice, banning facility fees for basic doctor visits off-campus and for telehealth appointments through 2024. But the law’s application still has limitations, and with rising health care costs, the amount of facility fees in Connecticut continues to increase.